New Apartments Proposed for Bandana Square
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 11:10 AM

A view of the proposed building looking northwest.

A Saint Paul developer is proposing a four-story, 150-unit apartment building atop the existing parking ramp west of the Best Western hotel in Bandana Square. The target move-in date is fall 2021.

Despite the decaying concrete of the parking decks, the ramp is structurally sound enough to support the project without additional pilings or foundation work, says Jim LaValle, principal for TJL Development LLC. The market-rate apartments would be a combination of studios, alcove studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units, none larger than 1,000 square feet, he says. Most would have small balconies. Early designs show a 60-foot-tall, E-shaped building with an outdoor pool, bocce court, and other recreation space on the first level. Some of the design elements, he said, will echo the historical brick and arches of Bandana Square. Though Bandana Square is a city historial district, the ramp itself is not part of the district.

LaValle told District 10's Land Use Committee on March 4 that rents will be "competitive" with other apartment communities in Energy Park. The project would provide secure underground parking for tenants, and lease 150 public parking spaces back to the hotel.

The project is seeking rezoning from B3 commercial to T3 traditional, which is required in order to lease parking spaces back to the hotel. If rezoning is approved, the project also needs a setback variance so the building can be farther from the property line than the 10 feet maximum allowed under T3 zoning. The city Planning Commission's Zoning Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the rezoning for Thursday March 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the third-floor City Council chambers in City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd.

The District 10 board voted March 17 to support the rezoning and variance requests.

LaValle's company currently is involved in The Grove at Snelling and St. Clair, and apartments that replaced Kelly's Depot Bar in Lowertown.

Originally posted March 6, 2020; updated on March 18.

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A view of the proposed building looking north-northeast.

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